Influence of edaphic properties in determining forest community patterns of the Zabarwan Mountain Range in the Kashmir Himalayas

Shiekh Marifatul Haq, Aqil Tariq*, Qingting Li*, Umer Yaqoob, Muhammad Majeed, Musheerul Hassan, Sammer Fatima, Manoj Kumar, Rainer W. Bussmann, Muhammad Farhan Ul Moazzam, Muhammad Aslam

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The significance of edaphic factors in describing forest vegetation patterns is becoming more well acknowledged, with significant implications for the description of biogeographical regions and biome classification, as well as abundance and growth patterns at regional levels. The current study examines the vegetation association in the Zabarwan mountain range of the Western Himalayas and its association with edaphic factors. To collect data on forest types, we employed a systematic random sampling strategy in 60 plots (0.1 ha) across five forest types. We investigated data using ordination and cluster analysis approaches after calculating the important value index (henceforth IVI) for each plant species and edaphic data from forests. In total, 76 plant species from 39 different families were found in the area. The Rosaceae family was the most numerous, followed by Fabaceae and Asteraceae. Scrub forest types have lower diversity indices, while broad-leaved forest types have greater diversity indices. Two-way cluster analyses classified the forest vegetation of the Zabarwan mountain range into two plant communities on the basis of indicator plant species. The ordination analysis (canonical correspondence analysis) indicated that vegetation association tended to be influenced differently by distinct levels of soil parameters. The soil pH and calcium content were the main factors influencing the species distribution in the different forest types. The phytosociological features (basal area) were higher in coniferous forest type (74.49 m2ha−1) compared to broad-leaved (58.63 m2ha−1) and scrub forest type (15.4 m2ha−1). Overall, the goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of the impact of soil elements on forest composition and associations in order to develop scientifically based management options for forest ecosystem protection in the Himalayan region.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1214
Number of pages15
JournalForests
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • soil
  • forest
  • biodiversity
  • protected area
  • Kashmir Himalayas

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